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Tragically I Was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  608 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
To his many friends as well as his legion of fans, Peter Cook was quite simply the funniest man ever. His unique gifts and the way he led the transformation of British comedy (from music hall to perverse absurdity) and his clear comic influence on Monty Python's Flying Circus and every show since, has been much written about. But never before has there been a collection of
Hardcover, First, 429 pages
Published 2002 by Century
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(showing 1-30 of 1,579)
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Stuart Estell
Jun 05, 2011 Stuart Estell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find it hard to believe Cook has been dead for 16 years. I remember the day he died - I was a student at the time and a massive fan of Pete and Dud in all their various incarnations, but particularly, of course, Derek and Clive. I still have the commemorative edition of Private Eye with him on the cover that was published that week.

The humour is priceless - like Milligan, Cook is an oft-unacknowledged source of much of the surreal style of comedy that was prevalent for a while. Father Dougal M
Pete Hardy
Aug 19, 2016 Pete Hardy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Cook is a talented and brilliant editor and author, and what he doesn't know about comedy is probably not worth knowing.
Sep 07, 2007 Spiros rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Cook has been widely hailed, and by people whose opinion should definitely count (such as John Cleese and Stephen Fry), as being the funniest man of his generation. Nothing in this book will disprove that assertion. The editor, William Cook (somewhat cryptically noted as "unrelated" in the bookjacket notes), perceives a kinship to Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll in Cook's humor, to which I would add W.S. Gilbert in his earlier works, Samuel Beckett in his "Pete and Dud" sketches (co-written ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are already a fan of Peter Cook, you will love this book. If you are new to Peter Cook and have a sense of humor, you will love this book. If you are neither of the above, skip it. This book is full of so many gems, so much comedy gold that it will make you sick. It is rare to laugh so heartily and genuinely at the written word, but you will. And then you will mourn the funniest man who has ever breathed.

P.S. To all of those who gave this book fewer than 5 stars because it is not a biogr
Re-reading this breathtakingly hilarious collection for the third or fourth time. Includes everything from the legendary One Leg Too Few sketch from 'Beyond The Fringe' ("I've got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is - neither have you"), some of Cook's classic EL Wisty monologues, the best bits of Pete & Dud ("Bloody Greta Garbo...") and some of the hysterically rude Derek & Clive ramblings. A brilliant collection of the hugely inventive work of the man who invented alternativ ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit-reading
I borrowed this book from the library after "Judge" John Hodgman spoke highly of it in His Honor's podcast. The Introduction by William Cook (no relation) beautifully and compassionately summarized Peter Cook's life, triumphs and foibles. However, the substance of the book (transcripts of Cook's comedy) fell flat for me. I'm not of the generation who would have Peter Cook's voice in my mind -- I never saw nor heard his work. To me, timing and inflection are essential to comedy, and I couldn't re ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun
The fullest collection of Peter Cook's amazing wit. And who compares with it? Recommended.
Feb 24, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'If all the world were nudists
If all the world were bare
Every one would live in peace
No war would they declare.
If every one went dancing
Around with nothing on
Everybody would be happy
As a person I know called John.'

Cook, Peter; Cook, William (2013-08-31). Tragically I Was An Only Twin: The Comedy of Peter Cook

Says it all really. I don't know anybody called John either.

I didn't give this 5 stars only because it's a dipping-into book, very difficult to read more than a few pages in any one
Hunted Snark
Sep 30, 2015 Hunted Snark added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a taste for surreal humour
Shelves: humour-surreal
Mad yet logical.
Insane yet satirical.
Lunatic yet witty.
Surreal yet internally consistent.

Cook, even on the page, or especially on the page, has the capacity to produce hysteria with just a few deft lines.

Or so it is for me.

If you have a taste for surreal, language-based, and deceptively thought-through humour, I strongly recommend it.

Just don't read it on the train.

PS: EL Wisty for supreme leader!
Jul 14, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, humour
Reading this collection of Peter Cook's work has a strange find yourself laughing uproariously at almost ever item covered, then shortly afterwards feeling downcast that he is no longer alive to continue to generate such comedic masterpieces. Most of the all time classic Cook material is here, including 'One Leg Too Few' and 'TVPM' from 'Beyond The Fringe', 'Peace Through Nudism' and 'World Domination League' from Cook's EL Wisty sketches, numerous Pete & Dud dialogues as well a ...more
Patrick Book
Oct 25, 2015 Patrick Book rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Complete is a good word for this. There is some material in here that is, frankly, not very good. But the duller pieces serve only to make the rest of the work shine brighter. I knew nothing of Cook's material before reading this, but it was generally delightful.
Clare Bear
Feb 19, 2008 Clare Bear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am still reading this very funny collection of sketches, soliloquies and recorded improvs from the very funny Peter Cook. I have heard some of his sketches recorded with him and Dudley Moore as Pete & Dud, and imagining Peter Cook saying these words makes it so much funnier.

Peter Cook also played the priest in The Princess Bride (the famous 'mawwiage bwings us togever today') scene.

This is laugh out loud funny; Cook and his contemporaries in the 50s and 60s paved the way for the Monty Pyth
Kevin Hutchinson
Jul 29, 2016 Kevin Hutchinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They were great, this book made me laugh out loud, recommended.
Aug 12, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ehjoyable overview of selected bits from Peter Cook's Career..from the early'beyond the fringe days' through the 'not only but also' sketches and beyond ending with the Sven prank calls and selected writings.
The scope of the writing takes on varied subjects and is never anything less than entertaining.
Something for everyone really from cerebal sketches to the sheer crude (step forth Derek and Clive!!)
Jan 24, 2011 Dennis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed when I realized it wasn't a biography. There was some biographical stuff it in, but it was mostly a collection of sketches he'd done throughtout his career, with and without Dudley Moore. I skipped over most of the sketches, because those really need to be seen to be appreciated. The non-sketch material was interesting, Peter Cook was truly a dememted comedian.
May 15, 2007 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of his writings and scripts with an introduction in each chapter so it also works as a sort of biography. Some of it has aged badly, and some of it obviously loses out from not been acted by the likes of Dudley Moore and Cook himself but some of it is comedy gold and his influence over the like of Monty Python, Brass Eye and The Mighty Boosh is there to see.
Simon C
Aug 15, 2012 Simon C rated it liked it
The best of Cook's work is, of course, pure gold but there is a fair bit here that I didn't much care for. I think, as the editor himself admits, the words on the page without Cook (or Moore) to deliver them are only part of the story. I also think he imposes his personal tastes too much on this collection. Only the first Derek & Clive album is any good? Nonsense.
I registered a book at!
Richard Thomas
Nov 24, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour-and-wit
It evokes Peter Cook in every sense - you can hear him as you read.
Stewart Shandley
One of so many hilarious excerpts from the book is from Snail Reform, Society for the Prohibition of Snail Racing...
Have a look at this. They're high speed action photographs which have been taken during actual races. Look at the expressions on those snails' faces and then try to tell me they're enjoying it.
Suzanne Newnham
Jan 30, 2013 Suzanne Newnham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the book caused massive outbreak of hysteria and giggling. Other sections were not my sense of humour. If you are a Peter Cook fan this is excellent. Otherwise it is an easy book to pick and choose the stories and sketches and enjoy a good laugh.
Nov 03, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dudley and Pete were the comedy team. British Swinging 60's via their comedy bits. Now they are both dead, and that's tragic. There is something very sad about Cook's surreal humour (I am spelling that 'British). But he was hysterical.
Derek Bridge
Aug 19, 2012 Derek Bridge rated it liked it
I should say something funny about this book. I really should. Really.

A collection of Peter Cook pieces from his schooldays to his demise. Some, most, brilliantly funny. Some not so.

Can't think of anything funny to say.
Mar 19, 2014 Julian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to what it says here this book with this cover was NOT published in 2013 but actually 10 years earlier in 2003.
Enjoyed the book. It was good.
Adore Peter Cook. In a respectful manly heterosexual way of course.
Oct 14, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was only slightly familiar with Peter Cook until I read this book. An amazing talent! Absolutely Hilarious! It's easy to see what sort of influence he had on the Monty Python folks.
Feb 17, 2009 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Starts with a really amazing skit, but there are parts,like his writing for Punch, that I have to admit I have skipped.

UPDATE: I finally gave up on this.
Shellous Bellous
An excellent read of Peter Cooks sketches, a truly talented man. I even remember some of them, brought back some great memories.
Clayton Smith
Apr 25, 2007 Clayton Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No matter what your sense of humour is like, there is something for all tastes in here. Incredibly funny.
Xan Holbrook
Aug 10, 2014 Xan Holbrook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
A hilarious gathering of Peter Cook's outstanding comic résumé and a fitting lament.
Alison Potvin
Jun 20, 2012 Alison Potvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This just might be the most hilarious memoir I've ever read.
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Peter Edward Cook was an English satirist, writer and comedian. Cook is widely regarded as the leading figure in the British satire boom of the 1960s. He has been described by Stephen Fry as 'the funniest man who ever drew breath', and is closely associated with an anti-establishment style of comedy that first emerged in the late 1950s.

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“1. Total domination of the world by 1958.
2. Domination of the astral spheres quite soon too.
3. The finding of lovely ladies for Spotty Muldoon within the foreseeable future.
4. GETTING A NUCLEAR ARM to deter with.
5. The bodily removal from this planet of C. P. Snow and Alan Freeman and their replacement with fine TREES.
6. Stopping the GOVERNMENT from crawling up our pipes and listening to all we say.
7. Training BEES for uses against foreign powers, and so on.
8. Elimination of spindly insects and encouragement of lovely little newts who dance about and are happy.
9. E. L. Wisty for GOD.”
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